2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 125-11
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


KLAPPSTEIN, Gabrielle, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, 1-26 Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada and ROSTRON, Benjamin J., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, 1-26 Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, klappste@ualberta.ca

Aquistore is a carbon capture and storage project with the purpose of post-combustion capture of CO2 from a coal-fired electrical generating station in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. Carbon dioxide will be geologically sequestered in deep brine formations at the Aquistore site. One component of the measurement, monitoring, and verification (MMV) program developed to minimize risks associated with potential leakage was the characterization of shallow hydrogeology. Baseline hydrogeological and hydrochemical data are critical for demonstrating that injected CO2 has not migrated into overlying shallow aquifers and altered the quality of groundwater resources. Thus, in order to establish the hydrogeological properties of the site, physical and chemical data were collected from a network of newly-installed and existing groundwater wells.

The focus area of the groundwater monitoring program was determined to be a 3-km radius of the site, based on the projected extent of the CO2 plume after 10 years of CO2 injection. Three major monitoring events were completed prior to CO2 injection: Spring 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring/Summer 2014. A total of 40 wells were monitored and sampled, with field measurements including depth to water level, pH, conductivity, and temperature. Samples were collected and analyzed for a suite of chemical parameters including major and minor elements and compounds, dissolved organic (DOC) and inorganic carbon (DIC), and stable isotopes. Geochemical results revealed a wide variety of chemical compositions but were generally found to be consistent over time, with little seasonal variation. Water levels were measured during the discrete geochemical sampling events; these data combined with eleven pressure transducers installed in selected wells were used to determine horizontal and vertical groundwater flow directions at the site. Analysis of the measured pressure data collected over time was used to understand natural temporal variations in groundwater levels in the area.

Once CO2 injection commences, shallow groundwater monitoring will serve as an integral part of Aquistore’s MMV program by providing a framework in which hydrogeological changes, and thus CO2 intrusion, can be assessed.